One common problem in e-learning projects is to establish a common “language” with the client. This part is not usually referred to the e-Learning literature as a problem, but my experience says that it is! And a major one if you do not have the experience to identify it and resolve it quickly and efficiently by establishing channels of “trust” with the client!
Trust is all about e-Learning (as in business in general)! Your client, trust you (i.e. trust your knowledge, your skills, your expertise, your experience, your resources, your partners, your associates, etc.) for delivering value to his company and his people!
He or she trusts you that you should identify, better than he or she can, the main performance “bottlenecks” of his/hers company operations and you will find the ways (by e-learning, training, coaching, etc.) to fix them!
This interaction is an interplay of trust, aiming at forging solid foundations for a cooperation, association or a joint venture! Such venture is not just training or e-Learning! It is, or rather should be, a strategic alliance of freely associated parties providing mutual trust and value to each other!
In the e-Learning area is a little bit more difficult, because, sometimes, you should start from the ground up and build on what is there! Some companies and organizations have been developed responsively to the market conditions, without following a master “blueprint“! This has created an irregular growth, that has to be “normalized“, in order the company to be fully competitive towards the new market conditions!
In this operation, e-Learning has a major role, as a disruptive agent, able to smooth out the edges, caused by autonomous responsive reflexes of members of the organization picked up in a previous level of its development, and developing a more “pro-active” position towards the market!
This is not an easy procedure and you have to map carefully “what’s there” and the how you are going to route it towards the desired business direction! The procedure, usually involves close cooperation with all the involved agents and stakeholders; long hours of reaching to basic consensus for the learning strategy and the main learning objectives; and a lot meetings for outline the levels of intervention (the how and where the e-learning should be commence, how it will affect the normal company’s operation, to whom it will be addressed, etc.). And all that before the actual learning process, before any learning procedure has taken place.
But this phase (I call it the “mutual acceptance” phase) is one of the most important for an e-Learning project! Without this phase, the trust would not be developed among the two groups (the e-Learning vendors’ team and that of the clients’ working groups), the communication would be stalled and nothing else would be moving forward with an ease.
That’s why it is important for you, in any project and especially to e-Learning Projects to establish a common vocabulary in order to facilitate clarity to your communication and to your action and cultivate “lines of trust” in the early stages of the project!